nuff said

Okay, as some of you know, my first job was in my local comic book store, Comicmania, when I was 13. I hung out there so much that John (the owner) let me watch the register while he went to lunch or went for meetings (thinking back as to what kind of “meetings” a comic book store owner might have leaves me scratching my head). Then, gradually I began working 6-8 hour shifts. I don’t think I ever got a single bit of cash from that job — I was paid in comics. And when it was slow, I read comics. I read a lot of comics. I was a comic fiend. When I wasn’t reading them, I was (attempting) drawing them. Sitting in that store (where now sits a Yardhouse in downtown Brea) are honestly some of my most treasured memories.

I must say one of the great perks was that I didn’t just work at any ol’ comic store, but I worked at the one local comic book artists went to, like some of the founders of Image. So along the way I met some truly awesome and inspiring people who I had been idolizing through their printed works. I was 13 and I had the best job in the world.

Anyway, as you can imagine at the time, I wanted comic book movies. I really really really really wanted cool, awesome, fantastic, comic book movies. What did I get? Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher. 1991’s stinkfest that is Captain America. Our one bright star was Batman. And after its success we finally thought, “alright, bring on the onslaught of awesome comic movies!!!” Then we got Stallon as Judge Dread. And then the Mask with Jim Carry. A slap in the face to all Mask fans. Then Spawn made me doubt my loyalty to Mr McFarlane who visited our store on occasion. As the last straw? Shaq as Steel – okay shoot me now.

I wanted SPIDER-MAN! I wanted the UNCANNY X-MEN!!! I wanted the FANTASTIC FOUR!!! I wanted the INCREDIBLE HULK!!!! I wanted GHOST RIDER!!!! I wanted WEST COAST AVENGERS!!! Come on Stan Lee give me something to be proud of!!!
Then it happened.

I saw it and thought silently as not to jinx it – this could be the turning point. Then, not too long after, I heard the news. News that gave me goosebumps, the same way I’m getting them now just remembering it. I read the words: X-Men. The movie.

I waited the next year or so, following closely X-men‘s production. Everything looked great, but would it be? I went as saw it opening night with my non-comic book friend (yes, that’s how I label you people). Afterward, I felt a sense of satisfaction like no other. Then my roommate woke me from my euphoria, raving about how awesome the movie was. I knew right then more comic movies would be made. And Spider-Man would have to be on that list. I was a kid again.

I’m not going to review every comic movie that came out since. But even with the set backs (Fantastic Four) I love watching them. I love them, because they got made and it appeared they were getting better. Now Spider-Man was a really fun movie. As a huge fan, of course I had problems with it. The biggest one is freakin’ Toby. I just don’t like him as an actor – his face bugs me. The second movie was alright, but still felt like it was missing something. So my hopes lie with this third film. From what I’ve read and seen, it has the potential to be the best or worst of the three. And I must admit the trailer gave me those all to familiar goosebumps. It also inspired this blog.

Currently reading: Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man by Frank Miller
Image: Me and Doc Ock at Comic Con by DAEdesign

The Long and Winding Road

Life is only now. How we spend our lives is minute to minute. What do we desire from it? A living reality or a conceptualized one?

We derive meaning from life from being present. But there are things that distract us. We’ve created and perpetuated a society where we self-identify through these things. Now the things I’ve lost, my important things, were more memories, thoughts and words. But I was not diminished, nor lessened. I have the joy of being, of growing into the one that is this me in this moment. And unto the next.

I’ve been on many first dates. I’ve chatted with thousands of people. I’ve lived with close to forty strangers drifting in and out of my life. I’ve encountered many diverse people as I’ve floated through a slue of different groups of friends, always open, listening, morphing. I have gotten to know so many people. The good, the bad, the strange and the stranger. I listen to them, judgments subdued, engaging, all have awakened me in some way. Shifted my paradigm. I love them for that, and treasure every single experience.

Still. I desire more. I love being in flux, not ever knowing who I’ll become. Knowing that the next interaction I have, whether it be with a long-time friend or a new stranger, it will alter my path in ways I could never predict.

And this is why I’m leaving. A little green to travel, I’m looking for new connections, new ways to challenge myself and to continue my journey of growth.

The goal is three significant trips, depending on time, life circumstances and, of course, money. First a quick sprint across the United States in January, a week long quest to bring my friend back home to Pittsburgh. Then a month or two long solo adventure where I explore the US at my own pace where ever it may lead. Next up is a foreign excursion, perhaps Europe, South America, New Zealand… Then, permitted, near the end of the year, exploring a few Southern California cities in day or weekend long trips.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

This entry refers to my Project 365 – Year-long projects that challenge my status quo

Header Image: by Lorenzo Bacci


by Dean Ethington

amidst the chaos,
amongst the shared vibrance,
whilst searching for resonance,
there is little peace.

grabbing in complacence,
slipping unabashed,
resilience paints the fall.
time erodes and deposits,
low may be,
higher than all before.

Header Image: Cann Sun by DAEdesign